August 19, 2020
Federal Judge Rules SJRA Cannot Avoid Claims it Violated Federal Anti-Trust Laws
The San Jacinto River Authority has experienced numerous losses in the courts recently, but none may be as impactful as the Federal Court’s ruling on Friday, August 14th. U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore’s ruling destroyed SJRA’s defenses, making it clear that SJRA must stand to account for its apparent violations of Federal Anti-Trust laws.
Recall, SJRA has for years said the $500 Million dollar bonds associated with the water scandal in Montgomery County, Texas are sacrosanct; a few in the community have even echoed SJRA’s propaganda concerning default on the bonds because it would not be in the “public’s interest.” Not so says Judge Gilmore. She ruled it’s always in the public interest to enjoin practices that violate Congressional statutes. If that means SJRA must default on its bonds, then it’s SJRA’s own fault for having violated the law in the first place.
SJRA actually admitted its actions are anticompetitive, but argued the State of Texas authorized its actions. But Judge Gilmore was not persuaded, saying SJRA cannot provide any proof the Texas legislature authorized SJRA to violate federal anti-trust laws.
In addressing the issue of Quadvest and its customers not paying the SJRA water tax, Gilmore again sided with Quadvest, agreeing that Quadvest and its customers face irreparable harm if payments to SJRA were to continue.
After years of appeals and delays, SJRA is getting closer and closer to facing trial for their actions in the Montgomery County water fiasco.